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Academic Blog

Views from the study

Latest educational and intellectual comment from the Headmaster, senior staff and pupils at Canford School. It includes latest written papers, addresses at assemblies and departmental essays, reflecting the vibrancy and diversity of life at Canford.

Isabella Woodward Newnham College Cambridge Essay Prizewinner 2019
Newnham College Cambridge Essay Prizewinner 2019 - Isabella Woodward (Lower Sixth)

Now is a great time for women in science, and we see that clearly in biology. Many female biologists have made incredible breakthroughs that have revolutionized modern science in recent times. They come from across the world and range from the conservation works for chimpanzees by Professor Jane Goodall, to the development of harnessing the potential power of the protein CAS9 and CRISPR technology by Jennifer Doudna, not to mention many others - all of whom are worthy of a Nobel prize. However, for the purpose of this essay I have chosen to ‘nominate’ professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz for her seminal work on embryonic stem cells and embryonic development. I am going to be focusing on three of her major breakthroughs, the impacts they have had in the science community, and what they could mean for future development. 

Read More about Nominate a living woman biologist for a Nobel prize and justify your choice
Financial Times The World Today Canford pupil Sophie Bearblock Highly Commended Essay
Highly Commended in Financial Times World Today Competition - Sophie Bearblock (Lower Sixth)

The current global population of displaced persons exceeds 65 million. These displaced people endure poverty, are at high risk of exploitation and face the denial of fundamental human rights. If I were Secretary-General of the UN for a day, I would attempt to tackle one of the main long-term problems faced by refugees: mental health.

Read More about If you were UN Secretary-General for a day, what would be your first action, and why?
Heretics paper by Emma Large (Lower Sixth)

In around 400 AD St Augustine perhaps summarised the feelings of all philosophers since the beginning of human history: ‘So what, then, is time? If no one asks me, I know; if I wish to explain it to someone that asks, I know not.’ The use of human language to try to explain time is perhaps one of the most difficult challenges that philosophers face in attempting to understand such a concept. How can we truly understand something we cannot touch, cannot see or hear or taste; something intangible, yet something that seems to be ever presently ticking in the back of our minds? How can we convey something that seems outside the bounds of human language itself, a colossal force that appears to rule our everyday lives, yet our language struggles in its capability to form words that truly encapsulate it? It is something that seems to defy human definition - we can say what we believe it is on the surface, yet when pressed, most do not seem to be able to find the words to express it. So what then, after thousands of years of relentless debate and struggle, is time? Of course, I can’t produce a conclusion, but I can explore the different theories.

Read More about What is time?
Ten Tors 2019
A personal account of Ten Tors 2019

As the sun set over Dartmoor, on Friday 10th May, nervous and excited crowds gathered to view the spectacle. The Ten Tors challenge 2019 would begin when the sun surfaced again in less than 12 hours. Canford had no less than four teams entered this year – a first; two fourth form 35 milers and two lower 6th , taking on the 45 mile challenge.  They had all trained hard for the event but nothing quite prepares one for the scale of it all, or the weight of the expedition ruck sack!

Read More about Ten Tors 2019
Junior Heretics Paper by Sophie Hussey and Frances Fleming (Fourth Form)

The definition of a stereotype is; ‘a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing’. Anyone and everyone can have a stereotype.

Different people have different perceptions of whether stereotypes are a good or bad thing. It is quite easy to see how stereotypes can lead to prejudice and discrimination.

Read More about The Science and Morality of Stereotyping
Max Glowacki (Upper Sixth)

We are celebrating publication of a Canfordian’s written word in a national publication.   Max Glowacki has written an article on a novel entitled Eva Luna by Isabel Allende that will be published in the next edition of the Bulletin of Advanced Spanish. This is one of the novels Max studied in preparation for his successful application to read Spanish and German at St Catherine’s College, Cambridge for 2019 entry, and the editorial team has decided to include his article in the new edition due to its excellent academic standard.

Henry Baynham Essay Prizewinner 2019 - Finn Baker (Lower Sixth)

It has become fashionable in recent decades amongst commentators on British politics to speak of the increasingly “presidential” role of our prime minister. In seeking to evaluate the truth in this claim I will judge to what extent the office of prime minister has become more like that of a US president in both a stylistic and constitutional manner.

Read More about To what extent has the office of Prime Minister become more presidential since 1945?
C.P. Snow Essay Prizewinner 2019 - Jessye Phillips (Lower Sixth)

The human race has always been fascinated by immortality; in fact, the main aim of alchemy, the basis of modern day chemistry, was to find the philosopher’s stone – a mythological substance that could create an elixir of life. As scientific potential rapidly grows we have an increasing chance of understanding the complex mechanisms of aging and thus how it can be overcome. Whilst to many the concept seems science fiction alone, scientists all over the world are beginning to see aging as a disease which will soon be cured. However, the nature of this cure is still unknown and many avenues are being explored.

Read More about Who Wants to Live Forever: An insight into the Quest for Immortality


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